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This is a useful hint for cleaning and re-plating silver cutlery. I got it from an old-fashioned butler. Crumple some clean aluminum foil (about 12 inches length of it) in a washing bowl of warm water with a little washing-up liquid. Leave for twenty minutes then wash as usual.
By Lucy from England
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I just came across a full service for 12 of some old Wm. Rogers silverware! It not been used or cleaned for 40 years. I spent the better part of 3 hours cleaning each piece with silver polish using a soft cloth and an old toothbrush. My husband commented that there must be an easier way to clean and polish silver in this day and age. Any suggestions?
After I had cleaned and replaced all the silver in it's fold up case I discovered that I could place the entire case into a 2.5 gallon zip lock bag. I am hoping that this will help keep the silver from tarnishing between uses.
Ebay forums has terrific suggestions here:
Tarnex is probably easier to use, but is harder on the finish. There is a specially treated fabic (like flannel) that is used to line silverware chests that retards tarnish. You can buy it in a pocketed cloth form. One of these to store your silverware in should cut down on the frequency of polishing. (09/27/2005)
Get some anti tarnish strips and put them in the bag. Available at The Container Store and other stores. Hancock Fabrics sells anti tarnish cloth (called Pacific Cloth) that you can put in the bag, too.
I've been told more than once that the liquid you could dip the silver into and which immediately strips away the tarnish also strips away the outer layer of silver. Best not to use this. Tarn X is one brand.
A good method is to do what museums do. Something about immersing it in a sink lined with aluminum foil, filled with hot water to which washing soda has been added. I know that it stops working when the water turns colder. Look this method up on the internet. Make sure the silver pieces touch each other to make the electrolytic action possible. (09/27/2005)
Mix 4 quarts warm water, 4 tablespoons salt and 4 tablespoons washing soda. Place in large glass dish with a piece of aluminum on bottom. Be sure all silver is covered to work. Have forgotten how long it takes. (09/27/2005)
By Annette from ME
YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE GLASS WHEN USING THE SILVER CLEANING RECIPE. CAN USE ANYTHING LARGE ENOUGH. Another recipe with an insert called for the container to be glass. 4 qts warm water; 4 Tbs salt; 4 Tbs washing soda; with aluminum foil in bottom. (09/27/2005)
The fabric you are talking about is called Pacific Cloth. A higher end fabric store would carry it, like The Fabric Place in MA (10/21/2005)
By Sandy in Vermont
To clean your silverplate, it is not recommended that you use the baking soda method. The reason being that it is a chemical reaction that will strip away they layers of silver on the item. Tarn-X will do the same. Since silverplate is a layer of silver over another metal, eventually you will remove the silver from the item. When this happens you then have to have the item re-plated. It is best to use a good silver polish that is designed specifically for silver. Hagerty's makes a number of different styles of polishes that work very well. No I do not work for Hagerty or have any financial interest in them in any way. I do however do a lot of work with a local Silverplater who recommends the use of this product on a daily basis. Also - never ever put your silverplate in the dishwasher. The heat and the chemical reaction with the stainless can discolour the silver. Another thing I was told, was that you should never ever use the baking soda method with silver candlesticks as it destroys the "weighting" in the bottom of the candlestick. (this is what keeps it from tipping over.) Application of heat to the "weighting" substance will loosen it up, and your candlesticks will soon begin to look a bit tipsy.
If you have any other questions, or concerns about your silver, brass, copper, pewter etc. you can check out this gentleman's website at http://www.zophyssilverplating.com
** I do not receive any financial recompense for passing on this information. I am just very happy with the work that he has done for me at reasonable prices. **
Good Luck! (03/06/2006)
By Lady Ianna
Can you use baking soda instead of washing soda? I have a bunch of really tarnished plate. I am going to sell it, and hoping that dipping it once won't damage it too bad. ?? (04/19/2006)
I like the soda+vinegar suggestion, not th polishing. How long do you leave the candlestick in the solution? (07/04/2007)
I am a Chef and I have tried just about every possible way to clean silver. Silvermate liquid silver cleaner is by far the easiest, safest, and the best way to clean silver! (03/26/2009)
Lady Ianna is so right! Try Silvermate it will NEVER remove your silver or will hurt it in anyway. It only takes about 20 seconds to clean and polish a piece of silver. We have used it in our restaurant for years. (03/26/2009)